Region, ICGB is nearing its certification as an independent transmission operator

, SEE Energy News

ICGB, a joint venture company of Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and IGI Poseidon, in which Greek Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and Italian Edison hold equal stakes, in charge of the project for the construction of gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Greece, is nearing its certification as an independent transmission operator after the national energy regulators of both countries adopted a draft joint decision on the approval of the certification.

The decision from KEVR and RAE is a necessary step preceding the commercial launch of the interconnector. Now, the draft will be sent to the European Commission for verification of its compliance with the European legislation before the two national regulators adopt a final joint certification decision.

Following the commissioning of the interconnector, ICGB will become the pipeline’s operator. This requires prior certification of the company as an independent transmission operator. The implementation of the procedure is a legal obligation and is one of the conditions of the final joint decision of the energy regulators on the exemption application of ICGB, granting exception from the requirements regarding third-party access, tariff regulation and ownership unbundling. As a future natural gas transmission operator, ICGB must ensure that it does not allow non- competitive or discriminatory behavior. To this end, the company developed a new management model of the company, including a new set of corporate rules, policies and procedures and a two -tier management system with a management board and a supervisory board.

Although there were reports that the completion of gas interconnection could be once more extended to autumn, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov confirmed in April that the construction of the pipeline will be completed before 1 July, with the start of commercial operation expected in the last quarter of the year.

182 kilometers long Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnection is designed with the capacity between 3 and 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year, but it could be extended up to 10 billion cubic meters in case of commercial interest and economical justification. The construction of the pipeline officially started on 22 May 2019.